2016-10-29 (Saturday)

Today, I learned that:

At this time of the year, it becomes ever more evident that life on the northern and southern hemispheres are going in different directions until Christmas time. The photo below shows a beautiful fall photo taken by my friend Barbara, who once more is eager to share with us the beauties of Mother Nature. This photo was taken by her from the stairs of Nääs Castle in Sweden towards Lake Sävelången. My warmest thanks, Barbara!

naas

The Swedish lake Sävelången amidst the forest dressed in autumn leaves. Photo taken by Barbara Sigurdsson on 2016-10-19.

As you already might know, besides technology, my other main interest is languages. So here are some interesting language information I have gathered since my latest blog post:

Sound of words is no coincidence
Particular sounds are preferred or avoided in non-related languages far more often than previously assumed. An international research team, led by scientists from the Max Planck Institutes for Mathematics in the Sciences and the Science of Human History, and including scientists from Germany, the USA, Sweden, Denmark and other countries have carried out a comprehensive analysis. The scientists used data for the study from over 4 000 of the more than 6 000 languages spoken throughout the world.
N as in nose – an association that probably did not arise by chance. The sound n is found in the word for the olfactory organ more frequently than in other words, some examples being English: nose, German: Nase, French: nez, Spanish/Portuguese: nariz, Swedish: näsa, Danish: næse, Norwegian: nese, Finnish: nenä, Russian: нос, etc.
Other examples are that the respective words for ‘sand’ often contain the sound of ‘s’, ‘stone’ normally includes the sound of ‘t’, etc.
Damián E. Blasi, a scientist from the Max Planck Institute, a main contributor to the study says that “In view of the enormous possibilities that exist for variations in the world’s languages, the result is astonishing and alters our understanding of the boundary conditions under which people communicate.” See also reference #1 below.

Smiling faces in photos

Of course, any photographer who takes portraits of people would like that their objects seem to be happy on the photo. There are different buzz words for that, “cheese”, “omelett”, and “pizza” are some of those used to convince them to smile. According to Radio Sweden’s language program “Språket”, a study made some years ago by the Japanese camera maker Nikon, a photo model was asked to pronounce typical words used in different languages. 5 high speed photos were taken of her in every language, and the most beautiful facial expression of those was chosen. Then, the photos from the different languages were compared, and the study resulted in that the French word “ouistiti” (meaning the South American monkey marmoset) yielded the best result, voilà! More on this fascinating topic can be found in references #2, 3, and 4 (the latter containing also the winning photo!) below.

Help the world – dispollute the air making booze

In a sensational discovery, researchers in the US Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee have been able to convert carbon dioxide into ethanol in a one-step process. Is this the solution to avoid global warming, getting drunk with the bill gracefully paid by Mother Earth? Let us wait and see! In the meantime, get prepared in references #5 and 6 below.

… That’s what I learned in school !

byran

Do you need to TRANSLATE DOCUMENTS between ENGLISH, BRAZILIAN PORTUGUESE, and the SCANDINAVIAN (SWEDISH / DANISH / NORWEGIAN) languages? Contact “Byrån / The Taskforce” here !!!

Refs.:

1: Sound of words is no coincidence

2: Säg cheese, omelett och pizza – så får du den perfekta fotominen!

3: Say cheese

4: The secret to a perfect photo smile – not ‘Say cheese’ but….. ‘OUISTITI’!

5: Chemists accidentally turn carbon dioxide to ethanol in breakthrough study

6: High-Selectivity Electrochemical Conversion of CO2 to Ethanol using a Copper Nanoparticle/N-Doped Graphene Electrode

+: What did you learn in school today ?

2016-07-04 (Monday)

Today, I learned that:

If you are in the US, then you can enjoy an extra day off work and celebrate the nation’s independence day, congratulations!

And thanks to the internet you can also listen to a Swedish radio programme, where Gloria Ray Karlmark counts her life story, including fighting for racial emancipation in Little Rock, Arkansas, and being the first coloured female student at MIT. But you need to know Swedish, and if you do, the link can be found in reference #1 below.

And when it is time for the fireworks tonight, think about what is happening at that very moment even further out in the sky, on a distance 48 light-minutes away. A Nasa probe named Juno penetrates the Jupiter atmosphere, searching for clues to the composition of this gigantic planet, the biggest one in our solar system. For more information, see reference #2 below.

But do you know why the probe is called Juno? It all started back in ancient Rome. Their god of gods was Jupiter, married to Juno. But Jupiter also had women on the side, the four most prominent being Io, Europa, Ganimedes and Calisto. In order to hide his extra-marital affairs from his wife, Jupiter surrounded himself by a cloud. But the jealous Juno had a sight which could penetrate that cloud. So now, Juno will once again penetrate the clouds of Jupiter and report her findings to Mother Earth.

In the meantime, I suggest you appreciate the following image. Further information can be found in reference #3 below.

jupiter-aurora

An image showing what the Hubble telescope found when directing UV rays towards Jupiter. It shows a permanent aurora, a result of the combination of solar winds and charged particles from the planet’s biggest moon, Io. Image by NASA, ESA, and J. Nichols (University of Leicester)

… That’s what I learned in school !

Refs.:

1: Gloria Ray Karlmark

2: Juno by NASA

3: Hubble photographs Jupiter’s dramatic auroras

+: What did you learn in school today ?

2016-03-20 (Sunday)

Today, I learned that:

Astronomy continues to be such a fascinating science! Today’s podcast from 365 days of Astronomy deals with the latest feat by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. Recently, it was able to reach out to photograph a galaxy that lies at a distance bigger than we have ever traveled before, 13,4 billion light-years. More about this amazing fact can be found in references # 1 and # 2 below.

hubble

This photo is a look 13,4 billion years back in time, when our Universe was only 400 million years old. The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has broken the record for how far back we have been able to look. The galaxy that is the star (!) of this photo is named GN-z11.

And speaking about celestial objects, today we also learned that the fear of getting sick by the Sun which has led to that many people are trying to hide from it can have negative consequences on our body. An article in the April issue of Journal of Internal Medicine presents a study made in the South of Sweden:

“There were 2545 deaths amongst the 29 518 women who responded to the initial questionnaire. The authors found that all-cause mortality was inversely related to sun exposure habits. The mortality rate amongst avoiders of sun exposure was approximately twofold higher compared with the highest sun exposure group, resulting in excess mortality with a population attributable risk of 3 %. The results of this study provide observational evidence that avoiding sun exposure is a risk factor for all-cause mortality. Following sun exposure advice that is very restrictive in countries with low solar intensity might in fact be harmful to women’s health.”

See references #3 and #4 below for more information.

And speaking once more about the Sun, as you probably already know today occured the March Equinox, when the day and night are practically of equal length all over the world. But if you live on the Northern Hemisphere, then you can look forward to an increased amount of day light during the coming three months, culminating with the Solstice around mid-summer. (The situation for us in the Southern Hemisphere is of course inverse, the days are slowly getting shorter now …) Reference #5 below has more information about the Equinox.

… That’s what I learned in school !

Refs.:

1: Hubble Breaks The Cosmic Distance Record, 365 days of Astronomy

2: Hubble Breaks The Cosmic Distance Record, Space Telescope

3: Avoidance of sun exposure is a risk factor for all-cause mortality: results from the Melanoma in Southern Sweden cohort

4: För lite sol kan vara skadligt

5: Equinox

+: What did you learn in school today ?

2016-01-19 (Tuesday)

zinnias-success

First flower grown in space. Photo taken by NASA astronaut Scott Kelly

Today, I learned that:

B-R-E-A-K-I-N-G N-E-W-S

According to fresh information from NASA, the astronauts on the International Space Station have successfully grown a flower, zinnia, in zero gravity. This is an amazing feat, makes me think about the movie ‘The Martian’ where Matt Damon managed to grow potatoes on Mars.

… That’s what I learned in school!

Refs.:

1: Astronauts grow their first flower in space

2: How Mold on Space Station Flowers is Helping Us to Get to Mars

+: What did you learn in school today ?